The National Institutes of Health acquisition arm's next iteration of its multi-billion dollar IT product and services contract vehicle is coming with some changes and the agency has shifted gears in its outreach to private-industry due to the mass telework brought on by the coronavirus response.
Last month, NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) issued a draft solicitation for the upcoming $40 billion, multiple-award Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) contract for health and biomedical information technology services.
Some anticipated changes from the CIO-SP3 iteration include a consolidated awardee format, with large and small businesses included on one vehicle, said Associate Director for NIH's Office of Logistics and Acquisition Operations Brian Goodger, who is also serving as NITAAC's acting director.
Goodger spoke April 17 during a virtual session that kicks off a series of virtual sessions in the next several weeks. Many of the planned in-person sessions this year pivoted to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mass telework in place to combat the spread of the virus. Suspended travel is expected to last until the end of May, with the next in-person roadshow currently scheduled for July, Goodger said.
In the meantime, the agency is engaging with industry about the contract vehicle through virtual sessions while doing its part to be at the forefront of the pandemic. According to NITAAC’s website, the agency “continues to support expedited ordering and immediate order release on CIO-CS and scope reviews under 24 hours for CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business.”
Tracking and tracing tools and services for COVID-19 are “popping up” in NITAAC’s government-wide acquisition contracts, noted Keith Johnson, a contracting officer for NITAAC during the virtual event.
Unlike other IT vehicles in government, NITAAC is “not just a contracting officer office,” Goodger said, highlighting a number of resources the agency offers that industry partners could take advantage of during this time, including an automated phone line and an email service that promises a response within 24 hours.